The effects of achievement goal orientation on unsporting beaviour in male rugby union players
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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The present study was designed to explore the way in which goal orientation (AGT; Nicholls 1989) affected unsportsmanlike behaviours in male rugby union players. The study was based around previous research (e.g. Duda et al. 1991; Stuntz & Weiss, 2003) and aimed to further understanding surrounding the two constructs within rugby. Data was collected using the Perceptions of Success Questionnaire to determine an individual‘s task or ego involvement and a cheating questionnaire was used to explore to what extend an individual agrees with unsporting behaviour. Certain scenarios were then placed upon these acts (e.g. whether coach instruction influenced behaviour) in order to further explore their attitudes. A sample of 90 players (mean age 21.27 years) were asked to participate in the study. Cluster analysis allowed three groups to emerge (high task high ego, low ego high task and low ego low task). Correlations analysis revealed that the task and ego goal orientations were strongly and positively correlated and not orthogonal as previous research suggested. Independent T Tests found that there was little significant difference between elite and non elite players, with elite only slightly more accepting of general cheating and using a dirty look. ANOVAs suggested a high task, high ego orientation individual is likely to be more accepting of cheating but not to the extent depicted in previous research. The data implied that previous assumptions of behaviour and goal orientation were accurate. Practical implications are discussed with reference to previous research but it is suggested that predicting behaviour from goal orientation is difficult due to many changeable external factors being present. Future research is required to explore sport and gender difference and a more accurate cheating subscale needs to be developed.
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